Texas A&M Aggies: Zach Whitley

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

January, 6, 2014
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College football recruiting is currently in a dead period, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a ton of recruiting news around the SEC. There were several commitments during the Under Armour and U.S. Army Bowl All-America games, including the top player in the country, Leonard Fournette, announcing his decision. There were also some decommitments and new, important offers were handed out. Here’s the latest news around the SEC.

SEC schools land big commitments: There was a flurry of commitments during and after the All-American games this weekend. SEC schools landed commitments from eight different players during the Under Armour All-America game and the U.S. Army Bowl. Here’s a closer look at who committed where. All eight players were ranked in the top 150 players of the ESPN 300.

RB Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine) -- Committed to LSU over Alabama and Texas.
DT Gerald WIllis III (New Orleans/Edna Karr) -- Committed to Florida over LSU and Alabama.
S Laurence “Hootie” Jones (Monroe, La./Neville) -- Committed to Alabama over LSU and Ole Miss.
ATH Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Edna Karr) -- Committed to Texas A&M over LSU.
WR Frank Iheanacho (Houston/Westside) -- Committed to Texas A&M over Missouri, LSU, Oregon and Arkansas.
OL Brian Wallace (Saint Louis/Christian Brothers College HS) -- Committed to Arkansas over Alabama and Missouri.
S Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) -- Committed to LSU over Florida.
DB Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas) -- Committed to Alabama over LSU.

Best SEC recruiters 

October, 15, 2013
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Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

It's no secret that Southeastern Conference has been the top conference in the country as far as recruiting over the last several years. The league currently has six teams ranked in the top 11 of the team recruiting rankings. Here's a look at the top 10 recruiters around the ultra-competitive conference.

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Every Wednesday, Sam Khan Jr. will take a quick-hit look at some of the top recruits and storylines facing Texas A&M recruiting for the week.

This week’s targets: The Aggies are making sure to comb the state for linebackers now that one of their top targets at the position, 2014 inside linebacker Zach Whitley Jr., is committed elsewhere (Alabama). Spring (Texas) Klein Oak inside linebacker Josh Mabin and outside linebacker Ja'Von Shelley will get looks this week when linebackers coach Mark Hagen and defensive coordinator Mark Snyder are expected at the Panthers' spring game on Thursday. Hagen went by Klein Oak last week to see the pair. Texas A&M has also checked out 2014 Dallas South Oak Cliff defensive end Silvester Hayes, who could project as an outside linebacker and is someone the Aggies are evaluating.

Area of interest: The Aggies' efforts in Louisiana paid some dividends in the last recruiting class, as Texas A&M hauled in three prospects from the neighboring state in the 2013 class, including ESPN 300 cornerback Noel Ellis. So it shouldn't come as a surprise to see them targeting high-level prospects from the state in 2014. They're in the running for several notable kids from "The Boot," including five-star athlete Speedy Noil, ESPN 150 defensive tackle Gerald Willis III and four-star quarterback Brandon Harris. All 10 Aggies commits are Texas products, but expect them to stay in the hunt for those three Louisianans.

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Each week this spring, GigEmNation reporter Sam Khan Jr. will bring you notes and nuggets from watching and visiting with high school football prospects in the Greater Houston area that week, including observations of Texas A&M commitments and targets and other players that catch his attention. Here's this week's installment:

KATY, Texas -- In a short amount of time, Katy (Texas) High School 2015 running back Rodney Anderson has accomplished a lot and emerged as one of the most appealing prospects in the state in his class.


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Johnny ManzielAP Photo/Aaron M. SprecherIt will be extremely difficult for Johnny Manziel to win the Heisman Trophy again next season.

GigEmNation writer Sam Khan Jr. chatted with readers on Friday about Texas A&M football and recruiting. Here's the full transcript of the chat. Here's an excerpt from the chat:

Hallan (Boston): Does Manziel get another Heisman despite losing WRs and Joeckel?
Sam Khan Jr.: It won't be easy. Manziel is talented enough to do it, but it won't be good enough to go 11-2 again this year to win it. Because of the huge season the Aggies had last year, they probably have to be ranked in the top two at the end of the regular season for him to have a serious chance at winning it again. After seeing what I saw last year though, I'll never count against him.

Evan (CS): Will Zach Whitley make his decision before his senior season starts?
Sam Khan Jr.: Evan, when I visited with Whitley a couple of weeks ago, he told me he doesn't intend to decide until after his senior season. Now a lot of recruits say that, and things can change. Whitley said he's committed to his high school team and focused on that. If he wavers from that plan, we'll know by late spring/early summer. If in the summer time he still talks about waiting until the end of his senior season, then I'll for sure believe that.

Chad (Houston): What is the best way to utilize all of the playmakers on the RB depth chart next year? There are a couple of studs, but when you run 4- and 5-WR sets, you can't have a lot of RBs on the field also.
Sam Khan Jr.: Chad, that's going to be on Clarence McKinney and Kevin Sumlin. I think you could see some wrinkles like Houston used when they had three quality starting running backs in 2011 (Sumlin's last year at Houston). They had some diamond formation packages with all three running backs back there, and if any of them are good enough to split out at receiver, you can put those guys in motion in the passing game. More than anything, it's huge for their depth. Naturally, because of his size, I think you see Tra Carson (230-240 pounds) being more of a short-yardage, in-between-the-tackles type; Ben Malena probably remains the starter; and Trey Williams will probably continue to be a change-of-pace type. The wild card is Brandon Williams, who is extremely talented. He has the potential to be a game-breaker.
In the last three weeks, ESPN Watch List linebacker Zach Whitley Jr. (Houston/North Shore) has attended a pair of junior days and picked up a notable SEC offer.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound inside linebacker attended Texas A&M's first junior day of the year on Jan. 27 then went to Austin for Texas' first junior day on Sunday.


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Five TAMU targets to watch in 2014 

February, 8, 2013
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With Texas A&M's 2013 recruiting class in the books, we turn the page and take a glance at the 2014 class. On Thursday we glanced at Aggie commitments to watch. Today we look at targets that the Aggies are pursuing in the 2014 class and who fans should keep an eye on moving forward:


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Texas A&M has already made significant progress at the linebacker position in its 2014 recruiting class.

With commitments in hand from ESPN Watch List prospect Hoza Scott and Gilmer (Texas) High School outside linebacker Josh Walker, the Aggies got a jump start at the position.

There's another target they have their eyes on and he was on campus for the Aggies' junior day on Sunday: Houston/North Shore inside linebacker Zac Whitley.


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Five from Friday: Whitley a leader 

December, 3, 2012
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Each week, GigEmNation reporter Sam Khan Jr. will bring you five things he learned from watching high school football action in the Midlands region that week, including observations of Texas A&M commitments and targets and other players that catch his attention. Here's this week's installment:

1. Whoever lands 2014 inside linebacker Zac Whitley will be getting a hard-hitting, driven player who consistently plays hard. The ESPN Watch List prospect, who has offers from Texas, Texas A&M and Houston, showed each of those traits during Houston North Shore's 17-10 playoff win over Houston Elsik on Saturday at Reliant Stadium. Some of the hits he delivered to opposing players were impactful, he was almost always around the ball and showed he can get from sideline to sideline quickly and he showed leadership. When his team's offense turned it over, he could be seen firing up his teammates and they got a stop on the ensuing possession.

[+] EnlargeHoza Scott
Sam Khan Jr./ESPN.comClass of 2014 linebacker Hoza Scott is all but committed to Texas A&M.
2. The race for La Porte (Texas) High School linebacker Hoza Scott is all but over with Scott openly saying that he wants to go to Texas A&M and that he will commit there soon. It was the third time I've had the opportunity to watch the 2014 ESPN Watch List outside linebacker, and Saturday, when he and his teammates took a 55-10 defeat to Texas Class 5A No. 1 Katy, it was by far the toughest challenge for the 6-foot-3, 225-pound prospect. Early on, Scott was in on several tackles and was near the ball often but as the game went on, Katy imposed its will on the entire Bulldogs' defense, running it at will. Still, he's a big, fast, strong linebacker who will be a nice addition to the 2014 Texas A&M class when he makes his commitment official.

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LA PORTE, Texas -- Every couple of days, La Porte High School outside linebacker Hoza Scott takes home a stack of mail from the team's fieldhouse.

They're letters for Scott, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound linebacker who is an ESPN Watch List member. This week, he took home a box that had dozens of letters, including some from places including Alabama, Florida State and Oregon. Two of his teammates sorted through them for fun, fascinated by the number and the origin of the envelopes.

[+] EnlargeHoza Scott
Sam Khan Jr./ESPN.comClass of 2014 linebacker Hoza Scott is all but committed to Texas A&M.
"This is just the mail that comes to the school," Scott said. "I also have some that comes to my house."

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Five from Friday: 2014 LBs shine 

November, 4, 2012
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Each week, GigEmNation will bring you five things from watching high school football action in the Midlands region that week, including observations of Texas A&M commitments and targets and other players that catch our attention. Here's this week's installment:

1. The two 2014 star linebackers on the field Friday night in La Porte, Texas -- La Porte High School outside linebacker Hoza Scott and Houston North Shore inside linebacker Zac Whitley -- played big in what was a big game for both teams. Scott had a sack early, and Whitley was in on the majority of tackles for North Shore in the early going. Throughout the night, both showed athleticism, speed and that they're good tacklers. Both can hit hard and look like smart football players who are in the right position at the right time. Texas and Texas A&M have offered both prospects. A&M leads for Scott, who also has offers from Alabama and LSU, while there's no stated leader for Whitley.


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Focus on '14: Linebackers 

October, 16, 2012
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GigEmNation is taking a weekly position-by-position look at the 2014 recruiting class as it relates to Texas A&M, whom the Aggies are targeting, as well as 2013 commits and who on the roster will graduate. Today, we look at the linebacker position.

[+] EnlargeHoza Scott
Sam Khan Jr./ESPN.com2014 linebacker Hoza Scott's top three consists of Texas A&M, Texas and LSU.
2013 commits: Reggie Chevis, Houston Sharpstown; Darian Claiborne, Port Allen (La.) High School; Brett Wade, Kennedale (Texas) High School; Edward Williams, New Orleans Warren Easton.

Linebackers who'll graduate: Sean Porter, Jonathan Stewart

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HOUSTON -- There has been no shortage of college prospects to come out of North Shore High School, the power program nestled on the east side of Houston.

Middle linebacker Zac Whitley, a 2014 prospect, is one of the latest up-and-coming players for the Mustangs.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Whitley holds offers from Texas and Texas A&M currently and said he likes both programs.

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SEC SCOREBOARD

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